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GOP Plans To Introduce Balanced Budget Amendment

by Countable | Updated on 3.29.18

What’s the story?

Reports are surfacing that the GOP is considering introducing legislation to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in advance of the 2018 midterms. Despite the fact that Republicans passed tax reform that the Joint Committee on Taxation analyzes will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years.

Such an amendment is guaranteed not to pass, whether or not it holds merit on its face, because of the votes necessary to pass and then ratify a change to the Constitution. First, it would have to garner a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers. Then, it would have to be ratified by 38 of the 50 states (three-fourths).

Why propose such a thing if there’s no way it will pass?

Politics. Speaker Paul Ryan is reported by the Washington Post to have promised a vote to Tea Party conservatives who were concerned about ballooning debt in exchange for their support of the tax reform bill. Democrats will inevitably vote against the amendment, perhaps allowing Republicans to regain the mantle of "most concerned about the federal debt" despite tax reform.

Balanced budget amendment legislation has been proposed in the past. A Senate measure proposed capping spending at 18% of the economy’s total output unless two-thirds of each chamber of Congress votes to allow deficit spending.

A House measure would restrict spending to an amount not exceeding 20 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and require the president to submit a balanced budget to Congress.

Neither has been passed out of committee or received a floor vote.

Proponents of a balanced budget amendment say it is absolutely necessary to control for runaway government spending. Critics argue tying the hands of government in the event of a crisis or economic downturn will only compound problems.

What do you think?

Do we need a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution? How would you structure it to provide flexibility, if at all, in the event of a major recession or other social crisis with large economic implications, like war or increasing, massive natural disasters?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pixabay / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(158)
  • MinnesotaMom
    03/30/2018
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    The republican strategy is to spend trillions on expensive unnecessary wars, then "balance" the budget by eliminating programs that help children, the elderly & the poor. They deregulate banks enabling wealthy bankers to rake in millions, then bail them out to the tune of billions, and tell us that requires more cuts to food stamps. Now they want to deregulate the banks again. And they want a war in Iran. And a balanced budget amendment. Because they want to do away with social security. You'll still pay the taxes, the money will just go to bankers & arms manufacturers. Pardon me if I roll my eyes when they call themselves Christians.

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  • Robert
    03/29/2018
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    After adding over $1 trillion deficit on the last budget, just call this what it really is a campaign ploy. The GOP is trying to look like conservative Republicans for the fall elections.

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  • Michael.J.L
    03/29/2018
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    Sure, it sounds good, but a government cannot operate properly if it is bound by such an Amendment. There are times when there must be deficit spending. Should the government be responsible in the way it crafts the budget and spending? Of course, but this is just another way for the GOP to have an excuse to cut social-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.

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  • Marylynn
    03/30/2018
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    What a joke, the GOP and Bone Spurs just approved a $1.3 trillion spending bill, so how the hell do they plan on balancing the budget? Are they all going to forfeit their pay???? Stop spending billions in foreign countries, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? How about we start with telling Bone Spurs that any further travels to his country clubs, will be his responsibility and not the taxpayers. It's not like he can't afford it himself... He's just another leach on the American taxpayers.

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  • JTK
    03/29/2018
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    This won’t pass. But, it is intended to create a false sense of urgency about how social security and medicare are bankrupting the country. The cry will be that the US needs to cut these programs in order to maintain solvency. In the case of social security, that argument is factually false. Under current payroll tax rates and expected benefit payouts, social security is funded for many more years. And a 2% social security payroll tax increase would fund the program indefinitely even under the most pessimistic assumptions. Medicare is more challenging, but still manageable. If you care about seniors, or your parents and grandparents, and don’t want to have them living with you or having their medical expenses bankrupt you, then you need to harshly reject this discussion when it happens. The balanced budget amendment is just a red herring issue.

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  • Denise
    03/29/2018
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    I have one question for the GOP: Why wasn't this bill introduced BEFORE the "Tax Cut For The Rich"? Answer: The Tax Scam would never have passed. But now that it has, watch out! They're coming for Social Security and Medicare!

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  • Kyle
    03/29/2018
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    Should have thought about a balanced budget before the massive tax cuts and budget busting omnibus spending bill. Doesn’t come across as genuine.

    Like (19)
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  • Thomas
    03/30/2018
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    This is Paul Ryan’s attempt at a Trumpian shiny object, intended to cover up the GOP’s rejection of conservative principles—or any sort of principles....

    Like (17)
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  • Aaron
    03/29/2018
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    LOL, what is the GOP going to to balance the budget after cutting taxes on millionaires and billionaires?! It seems like they live on a different planet, one where there’s no such thing as math.

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  • Sherri
    03/30/2018
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    After the tremendous amount of debt the GOP has saddled us with, this has got to be the punchline to the worst joke ever. This will be their excuse now to try and cut social security, Medicare, Medicaid, and every other program that helps people who are not rich. The greed of the rich is going to destroy our country.

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  • operaman
    03/30/2018
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    A balanced budget amendment! I'll believe it when I see it on paper. The GOP has made many promises over the past years and managed not to keep many. A promise by honorable people should not be looked upon as a child's ”pinky promise.” I've learned not to hold my breath.

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  • Abbe
    03/30/2018
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    Seriously? They just passed a $1.5 trillion tax bill and a huge budget. They are no loner the fiscal conservatives they say they are! Too late to change that. Their tax bill isn’t working and how are they planning to recover the revenue lost but their gigantic tax break to corporations? Have they noticed that corporations are buying back their shares not paying their employees more? Not to worry their CEOs are doing quite well due to their tax breaks though the middle income employees are not

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  • Paul
    03/30/2018
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    Of course they are. That was the plan all along. Tax cuts for their rich friends to justify cutting Medicare and social security. If we fall for this one and don’t vote them out this country deserves what it gets.

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  • Rob
    03/30/2018
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    Introduce a balanced budget amendment after having blown up the budget for the next ten years. Sounds like a sneaky political trick. And a totally transparent one at that. Transparent at least to any one who is paying attention. The apparent fact that too few are paying attention is the reason that we, as a country, have lost the ability to elect qualified, competent and morally upright leaders and representatives.

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  • NoHedges
    03/30/2018
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    I cringed at the thought, and shutter to think of all the social good, education, healthcare, and infrastructure that will be on the cutting block. 👹For all Congress admonishing of Puerto Rico's lack of discipline and dedication, you would think Congress would realize they are promoting the same government for profit agenda here. 🤮My guess is they know and don't give a rats ass about anyone not able to make the cult cut.

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  • Chuck
    03/29/2018
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    What hypocrisy! Cutting taxes for the rich and corporations by over a trillion dollars and now they think balancing the budget is needed. Since they refuse to touch defense spending, the only way to “balance “ is to basically eliminate Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Unfortunately a large portion of the populace believes the GOP even though it will hurt them personally. Hopefully truth will prevail and the GOP will be voted out of the majority.

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  • Hillary
    03/30/2018
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    End Citizens United and make any and all contributions to any political party, public servant, candidate, or office illegal and punishable by severe action. Once you remove the personal gains for giving a public servants owner/sponsor prizes at the expense of the citizens I strongly suspect this issue will resolve itself.

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  • Mike
    03/30/2018
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    What a joke. They know they are going to lose the house and most likely the senate this November so they want to pass this to tie the hands of the democrats. Look at the trillions in debt they just passed and Trump signed. Republicans don’t care about balanced budgets or deficits, it’s just a talking point for their base.

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  • RadicalModerate
    03/30/2018
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    Congressman John Katko, please please step down. Central New York needs a representative to work for the people, not corporate interests.

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  • Jon
    03/30/2018
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    Stupidest idea I’ve heard, and that’s saying something for this day and age. This same majority complained constantly about debt during the Obama yrs. Suddenly, they control all branches of government, pass a tax break that will add over a trillion more to the debt they never shut up about, and now they wanna amend the Constitution with a balance budget amendment?!? Seriously?!? This of course has nothing to do with what they want, and everything to do with what billionaires like the Koch bros want. They own most of Congress and hope to ruin what little representative democracy there is left, following Citizens United. #GetMoneyOut and return power to the majority of Americans, and not just the ones with the most zeros in their bottom line.

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